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Affiliates, trash and a waste of time

What about doing something worthwhile?

     
10:13 am on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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There is a lot of talk about how much money can be made as an affiliate. I can understand that we need to make a living and that working for yourself is great. But I want to contribute something worthwhile. It's hard being motivated to make another "product information" page when there are already thousands of pages just like it.

The vast majority of affiliate sites that are making money are not someone's hobby site. They aren't sites that the webmasters are passionate about. They are sites that are made for the sole purpose of making money. The moneymakers are then duplicated tenfold with just enough variation so as not to be seen as duplicates.

Some will add some personal commentary or maybe they think their page layout, navigation or font is better. They may find comfort knowing their site isn't as trashy as the competition's. They may think their site is more worthwhile because they don't have popups/unders. They may spew out some travel logs to make their site more legitimate.

So, when there is yet another thread on how much money can be made, let's remember there is much more to life than making a bunch of money.

10:22 am on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>Affiliates, trash and a waste of time.

well as someone that makes money from affiliate sales I find that heading ridiculous, yes there are a lot of duplicate content sites out there but thats all part of the game

11:21 am on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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<<much more to life than making a bunch of money.>>

I agree 100%. Spending it is much more fun!

I also get very upset when I go to the local mall and find 22 shoe stores that all look almost identical. It infuriates me when the manager is not passionate about his profession!

[edited by: mfishy at 11:25 am (utc) on Aug. 15, 2004]

11:22 am on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As always there are two sides to this,

I have just returned from a 2 week holiday where I was talking to a guy who said he was a big mover of CDs' via ebay but before he left for his holiday had to turn everything off because he was not available to post anything which he may of sold while he was away, me on the other hand just logged into the single PC available at the hotel to check my daily stats and then walk back to the pool/bar area to down another drink.

"ching ching" another dollar in the bank and you are not even in your own country.

Now you tell me who is right?

ncw164x

3:48 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What about doing something worthwhile?

Not that I am a full time affiliate (yet), but it drives me up the wall when I hear this from someone about the internet. Why does everything on the internet have to be so d*mn noble? I agree with mfishy's mall analogy. I have to ask, do you walk into fast food resturants and ask the people working there that question? How about the telemarketer on the phone who calls you?

Fact of the matter is, how many people actually "do something worthwhile". They work to make money and very few are passionate about what they do. Forgive me, but I think bring home a paycheck to feed your family rather than sitting on welfare is a pretty darn worthwhile thing to be doing, whether it's by making fries or making webpages.

3:56 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Some of us are earning more than ever before in our lives, and we're giving more than ever, too.

It feels good to be able to write bigger and bigger checks to charities I've supported for years.

4:00 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Same here on the charities buckworks - its all about Karma.

"What about doing something worthwhile?"

How brass of you to assume we don't.

"let's remember there is much more to life than making a bunch of money."

I highly doubt anyone here needs a lecture about the important things in life. I could really go off on a tangent here right now, but I won't.

If you don't like a store, don't shop at it. If you don't like a website, do the same. But don't come in here on a pedestal putting the rest of us down because you believe your standards and morals to be so much higher than that of the rest of "us".

"They are sites that are made for the sole purpose of making money."

And so are 99% of the brick and mortar businesses you shop at.

This post sounds more like a bitter reaction to not being able to trounce those "trashy" affiliate sites in the SERPs than a true concern for the well being and high quality of the search engines.

4:17 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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let's remember there is much more to life than making a bunch of money.

Good for you - that's a great attitude. Personally, I'm very passionate about my sites, but I also have bills to pay.

I'll leave you to it while I get back to my affiliate marketing and paying the bills.

TJ

4:38 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>> webmasters are passionate about.

Yeah, and which real profession is passionate about where and how they make their money? Stock Brokers? Salesmen? No wait, used car salesmen? Nah.. gotta be the manager at Burger King, he had to have hand crafted that piece of meat?

How about that drunk taxi driver at pubcon? Ah ... its gotta be the politicians! Did someone just tell me that Jeff B over at Amazon reviewed every widget he sold?

(Ok.. I've been out drinking for the last 4 hours.. this might not seem that amusing in the morning)

[edited by: shri at 4:39 pm (utc) on Aug. 15, 2004]

4:38 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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dude comes into an advertising and marketing forum and complains there is too much talk about money :)
4:53 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thats why he signed up for a new ID ... takes Huevos to do that. :)
4:59 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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guitaristinus, nobody is stopping you from making money from great content. If it seems as if everyone in your market it doing the same thing, GREAT. That is an opportunity. Find a niche and be the best. There is no rule that says product information cannot be worthwhile, just ask a frustrated shopper. Sure, you might not make as much as the aggressive bulk-content pros, but you'll do better than most of the dupe-content beginners, and with less risk. As has been said many times before, both philosophies have their own advantages and disadvantages, so there is no point in being jealous or judgemental, eh?
5:02 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Surprisingly, I can relate a little to what guitaristinus is saying. I am the type of person that feels the need to make a difference in the world and help people too. That's why I'm an AM. But if I were an affiliate I would need to focus at least one and probably more sites about something I was passionate about that helps people. You can make $ in affiliate marketing and make a difference at the same time too, guitaristinus.

I don't know what YOU are passionate about but if I was an affiliate I would have some sites geared toward people that are into psychology and self help and I would sell Nightingale Conant tapes and other self help related products as well as offering a forum and writing articles. I have carpal tunnel and have done a lot of research on ergo, special mice and other solutions, so I may want to have a site that helps people that way. (And sell stuff.)

You can take almost any noble cause or interest and turn it into a site that you are truly passionate about, have a lot of personal energy to commit to it, that helps lots of people and makes money too. Nothing wrong with that. Have you tried it?

5:28 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>> Why does everything on the internet have to be so d*mn noble?

Very Good Question ...Somehow people put higher standards for internet businesses than real world offline ones!

Guitaristinus , as catalyst suggested run 90% of sites which makes dough and make 1 or 2 sites about a subject you care about ...The good thing with AM is unlike other business you will find more free time which you can use to pursue your interests!

Its like the Movie actors - most movies are to make mony but one or two for their artistic quest and to get awards :)

6:28 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My post is mostly about me. The question is what I ask myself. The sites are mine.

Thanks sean and Catalyst for the encouragement.

9:38 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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After reading this thread I must say I find much similarities in many of the posts that are being made here. First of all I do feel "empty" making these sites that everyone else is making, but then again that is the quickest way to bucks... ok now that doesn't sound so appealing, but then again what are we all about?

One might have the courage and ideals to create something unique, but really... who of us is really willing to bet their livelyhood on dreams or visions?

Sure it is great to dream of big and better things, but the thruth of the matter is that the most of us cannot afford to be dreaming of that better world to be.. at least I cant.

I have been an entrapeneur for years and done the basic brick and mortal businesses and tryed to offer the customers best possible service...now what did that leave me? Dept of 150k!

So much for ideals - If I some day get to pay off my debts and so on.. well maybe then I have time to ideals, but in the mean time I am all for the buck... Now I when I say I am all for the buck that doesn't mean I would sell my clients ****.. that's were I do draw the line, but other than that, if it's small a bit "spammy" affiliate sites I need to make to make a living - then danm, that is what I will do!

Now I am dreaming of better things just as I think the thread starter is, but for now I must refrain myself to do what is realistic/acchievable for me..

Now as I am writing this "speach" I am a bit drunk after drinking over 1/2litre of vodka and thus my grammer might not be perfect, but bear with me ;)

Just my 2cents worth - Mike76

9:39 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I uderstand what you are saying guitaristinus. I also find it hard to get jazzed about making another product information page that is just going to be one of a thousand already on the web, even if it does make money.

What's cool is finding topics that are unique, informational, make money and you can still find something fresh to write about. I'm trying to focus on the lattter for the coming year.

10:09 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm not an affiliate, but I can't see what the problem is with it. I have considered trying it out because of the money, but I need to feel that I am doing something worthwhile to be successful. Although some people may not think it is worthwhile, others may love doing it. In essence, it is another form of marketing. Thousands of beer commercials have been made; should they stop marketing beer because there are thousands of similar commercials?

You are also forgetting, many people are passionate about money no matter what they have to do to get it. There are people doing much worse things than affiliate marketing to make money! You could argue that affiliate marketers are saving the planet because they are not commuting as much and are using less fossil fuels.

3:15 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Boy, I don't hear anyone complaining about the thousands of gas stations that are just alike on every corner on the planet.
6:11 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yes there is more to life than making money....but
it takes money and time to do them.

affilite marketing gives you both in abundance.

aff marketing to me is like solving a complex puzzle except you get paid for it...and well.

7:15 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I really need to post this on some other forums (where homepages are allowed in the messages) I don't know if I have ever seen a better way to see a collection of successful AM sites.
9:33 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Nope - you've just found a way NOT to see a collection of successful aff sites.

The other fora that do allow URL dropping have nothing else to offer and as a result they end up as stupid billboards with nearly all the posts being from people trying to sell you their latest get rich quick ebook or similar.

The real attraction of ww for me is that it allows for good unbiased chat without all that other promotional rubbish getting in the way.

And for what it's worth, yes, by all means have higher and more ethical goals, but just make sure that your bills are getting paid whilst you focus on them.

It's much much easier to be moral and ethical when you have the cash for that very luxury - it's also the reason that most large charitable donations are from big successful corporations or individuals. They've made their money, now they can give something back.

4:41 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Look on the bright side, my book over which I'm very passionate about has made me $23 this month.

AM, which I'm developing a passion for, will hopefully make me enough money to relax, continue my present lifestyle with some extra goodies and be in a position to raise a family, make my adorable fiance happy via not having to worry about bills and even have enough to seriously promote my book.

Family values and everything, cool eh?

In the meantime, this thread or at least the answers, would imply that is an achievable goal. So thank you for the inspiration.

Pibs

9:31 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Boy, I don't hear anyone complaining about the thousands of gas stations that are just alike on every corner on the planet.

Maybe because you can actually buy gas there? People *would* complain about a bunch of people running out at every intersection to stick a flyer on your windshield flogging every gas station in town plus some gas stations in other cities. And of course, the stations using these affiliates would build the cost into the pump price.

And what about all those people running around nightclub districts at night passing out flyers? Take a look at the sidewalks and see where the flyers end up.

9:45 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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People don't go looking for those flyers. They *do* go looking for the products sold on affiliate sites.
1:11 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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People *would* complain about a bunch of people running out at every intersection to stick a flyer on your windshield flogging every gas station in town plus some gas stations in other cities.

I see your point. But you can only relate what you're saying to spam emails, ICQ spam, MSN spam, ect...
"running out at every intersection to stick a flyer on your windshield flogging every gas station in town"

But this in no way describes when people are using PPC engines (which most of us probably do). They are SEARCHING for it.

5:15 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I suspect that the dismal statistics are that over 99% of the people who tried to fund a "worthwhile" project with affiliate ads failed. The majority of people who tried affiliate ads in a get rich quick scheme failed as well.

A large number of the most successful affiliates are doing rather nasty things like installing parasites on machines, email spam or search engine spam.

For example there are affiliates with massive databases of products (often the databases are horrifically inaccurate). They then create millions of garbage web pages that search engines might mistake as meaningful.

Many successful affiliates do misleading things like join a datafeed with the FIPS database to create montrous misleading web sites to catch people who do searches on a town name and a product.

To affiliates the term "content" means key word rich steams of words. There are now affiliates that just grab meaningless streams of words and make misleading pages with ads.

There are other clever tricks. For example, if store X doesn't offer coupons, you can make a "COUPON COUPON, GET YOUR COUPON PAGE AT STORE X COUPON STORE X COUPON, COUPON" Page. It does not matter that you don't have a coupon. The keyword combo is all that matters.

A person looking for a bargaing just might end up on your page. If you load the merchant site in a 1x1 frame to set the affiliate tag. Bada bam bad-bing. You get the commission and are off to don your white leisure suit in the local lounge.

My guess is that for every dollar made by a site trying to do something worthwhile, $3 are made by affiliates pulling stunts with misleading datafeeds, misleading text, parasite program or other practice.

7:55 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"A large number of the most successful affiliates are doing rather nasty things like installing parasites on machines, email spam or search engine spam. "

My guess is that despite masquerading as fact, the above post is purely indicative of your own highly biased opinion.

Many high performing affiliates do well without any of these underhand methods, which I guess makes individuals that can't even more resentful and angry, hence posts like that.

Sure, we'll use some grey hat stuff to help where we can, but these allegations are just off the charts and certainly have no basis in fact. Unless of course, you'd care to share your research?

8:41 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If people are searching for " purple widgets in Antarctica", why shouldn't an affiliate make a page for this?

Is there any rule that says only approved content rich sites are authorized to be found by searchers, and the rest of "affiliate page spam" should be thrown out?

I guess you missed Googleguy at pubcon in Orlando when he said, check your logs and if people are searching for " purple widgets in Antarctica" then build a page for this as this is good for the searcher as well as the search engines. (paraphrased but very close to what GG said)

8:42 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Let me try talking about affiliates another way.

I am a vendor in an area which has less than 20 real vendors. That is, there are less than 20 service providers in that product space. Searching for the related kw1 kw2 kw3 combination that is most bid on in the industry returns 3.5 million results. None of us has a site bigger than 50 or so pages. Therefore, most of the remaining results are pseudo directories, affiliates, whatever. Without these excess results elbowing out the real vendors, the vendors could all show up within the first two pages of results.

From this side of the street, it appears that we are forced into some rather grey areas in order to show up in the serps. I ask *every* prospect about their search for the product. Many admit to having searched for the product for over a year.

It happens that kw1 kw2 are pretty competitive in one field and kw3 is related to another competitive field. By virtue of kw1 kw2 kw3 being the most popular search term for potential clients, the service providers get swamped in the affiliate crossfire.

The result is that some of the older firms with more dated services have resorted to subdomains, hidden text, mirrored content, really-long-phrase.com, you name it.

To boot, there are keyword spammers who have scraped and mirrored the real sites resulting in disappearing pages.

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